Mark D. Anderson

Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer’s responsibility is to build and sustain BirdLife South Africa into an organisation which will be recognised nationally and internationally for its professional approach and involvement of all sectors of South African society in delivering measurable success in the conservation of wild birds and their habitats.

Isabel Human

HR Manager and Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer
Isabel is responsible for coordinating Board of Director meetings and other BirdLife South Africa business meetings, the Gill Memorial Medal Award and the Austin Roberts Memorial Medal Award, management of legal documentation and the HR of the organisation, partnership liaison, and management of BirdLife South Africa’s Legacy Programme and promotion of the BirdLife National Trust.

Fanie du Plessis

Finance and Operations Manager
Fanie is responsible for heading up the Business Division of the organisation. The programmes falling under the Business Division includes Bookkeeping, Office Administration, Membership, African Birdlife Magazine and the Wakkerstroom Centre. Fanie’s specific responsibilities include financial management, reporting and budgeting. He also serves on several committees including the Governance-, Marketing- and Magazine Management Committees.

Rose Knight

Rose is responsible for the bookkeeping for BirdLife South Africa.

Jessie Govender

Assistant Bookkeeper
Jessie is responsible for assisting the bookkeeper.

Shireen Gould

Membership Manager
Shireen is responsible for overseeing the Membership Programme, including the subscriptions to African Birdlife. Other responsibilities include maintaining the membership database, emailing/posting membership invoices, uploading bank statements and sorting out queries on the bank statement, processing Corporate Membership, running month end reports and handling the main membership programme email address and label runs for African Birdlife. Another important role is to deal with club secretaries and committee members regarding the administration of club membership.

Janine Goosen

Office and Subscriptions Administrator
Janine is responsible for the day to day administration of Isdell House as well as assisting at Shop for the Birds! at Isdell House. She is also responsible for the administration of the African BirdLife magazine Subscription System.


Membership Administrator
Baile Sechabe is responsible for the administration of the BirdLife South Africa Membership System. This includes processing new memberships, responding to membership related queries, keeping all member records and renewals up to date, as well as helping to create membership promotions and recruitment strategies.

Kathleen April-Okoye

Kathleen is responsible for the BirdLife South Africa head office Switchboard and handles and transfers incoming calls and deals with general inquiries. She is also responsible for managing the general info email address, ordering stationery and the distribution of posters, lesson plans and pin badges for the Bird of the year project, and the BirdLife South Africa official checklists and Annual Report.

Emma Askes

Events Programme Manager
Emma is responsible for the organisation, including the management, administration and logistics of BirdLife South Africa’s events.

Kristi Garland

Wakkerstroom Tourism and Education Centre Manager and Working on Fire Base Manager
Kristi manages BirdLife South Africa’s only Centre in Wakkerstroom.  This covers both accommodation/facilities as well as the local bird guiding operations.  Kristi also designs and implements BirdLife South Africa’s environmental education programmes within the Grassland biome and supports local junior bird clubs with weekly meetings and activities.  Kristi also supports other partners and their programmes across the province.  Currently, Kristi represents BirdLife South Africa and Southern Africa on the Spring Alive International Steering Committee.  This education project incorporates birding and fun for all ages whilst encouraging action taking for the conservation of our migratory birds and their habitats.  Kristi also manages a Working on Fire team, based at the Wakkerstroom Centre.  Through membership to the local Fire Protection Association, landowners are able to make use of a 25 strong firefighting team to assist with fire preparation, fire prevention and suppression during the winter months.  Summer months are spent on controlling alien invasive vegetation and erosion control.

Lucky Ngwenya

Resident Bird Guide – Birdlife South Africa Wakkerstroom Tourism and Education Centre

Lucky is one of BirdLife South Africa’s longest standing staff members.  Employed as the Centre’s resident bird guide, Lucky knows the in’s and outs of birding in the Wakkerstroom area and is often in high demand by visitors to the area.  During the off season, Lucky assists with maintenance tasks at the Centre and assists with ad-hoc education programmes.

Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson

Conservation Manager
Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Oppenheimer Fellow of Conservation, heads BirdLife South Africa’s Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme and the conservation of the country’s threatened terrestrial bird species is her key responsibility. Several projects are undertaken under the auspices of the global BirdLife International Preventing Extinctions Programme.   Current projects include research and conservation for:  White-winged Flufftail;  Taita Falcon; Secretarybird; Southern Banded Snake Eagle and Southern Bald Ibis. BirdLife South Africa’s work to minimise the impacts of renewable energy on birds also forms part of the focus of the Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme. Hanneline is passionate about the environment and to making a difference through conservation initiatives. Hanneline describes birding as a favourite pastime.

Linda van den Heever

Species Project Manager
Linda is running BirdLife South Africa’s project looking into the effects of lead toxicosis in South Africa’s bird species, with the aim to eventually pinpoint the source of the lead poisoning and finding ways to mitigate its impacts. She is also investigating the status of the Black Stork in South Africa, and manages various administrative tasks related to the Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme, including the organisation of the biennial Learn About Birds Conference and the annual Flufftail Festival.

Dr Melissa Whitecross

Threatened Species Project Manager
Melissa completed her PhD in savanna ecology at Wits in 2017 and joined the TBCP team on a one-year internship during 2017. In January 2018 she joined the team permanently as the Threatened Species Project Manager. Melissa’s main responsibilities are to assist the TBCP programme manager with the coordination of projects on South Africa’s threatened bird species including the Secretarybird, White-winged Flufftail, Taita Falcon, and Southern Banded Snake Eagle. Melissa is also the lead researcher on the ACSA Grey-headed Gull tracking project and is one of the BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) representatives on the Orange-breasted Waxbill project – a collaboration between BLSA and the Rare Finch Conservation Group. Both of these projects fall under BLSA’s ‘keeping common birds common’ initiative. Melissa has been instrumental in the organisation, coordination and running of the 4th biennial Learn About Birds (LAB) Conference at Flock on the West Coast 2018. She also assists with the stream of bird identification requests that are sent to BLSA. Melissa is a keen birdwatcher with a southern African life list of over 700 birds.

Andrew de Blocq

Coastal Seabird Conservation Project Officer
Andrew’s work, funded by the Charl van der Merwe Trust, focuses on the conservation of coastal seabirds, especially the African Penguin. Andrew heads up the penguin tracking project, which looks at where penguins forage outside of the breeding season, particularly before and after moult when they are at their most sensitive. Andrew is the point person at BirdLife for the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement’s ‘International Multi-species Action Plan for Benguela Current Endemic Seabirds’. He also coordinates the Atlas of Seabirds at Sea (AS@S).

Samantha Ralston-Paton

Birds and Renewable Energy Manager
BirdLife South Africa recognises the importance of renewable energy. However, renewable energy can have negative impacts on birds and their habitats. Samantha works with government, industry and avifaunal specialists to help ensure that these impacts are minimised.

Robin Colyn

Ingula Project Manager
Robin is responsible for providing scientific input into and coordinating ecological monitoring and research initiatives at Ingula. Situated across the escarpment between the eastern Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, Ingula and its surrounding nature reserve incorporates over 7500 ha of high altitude grasslands, approximately 1500 ha of palustrine wetlands and sections of Afrotemperate forest. Robin additionally compiles Species Action Plans (SAP) for threatened species occurring in the local and broader area, whilst also assists with the implementation of the Ingula Nature Reserve Management Plan. As part of the Southern Bald Ibis Species Champion Programme, Robin annually assesses breeding colonies within the Eastern Free State to determine breeding and/or fledging success, implements and evaluates a Southern Bald Ibis tracking initiative and coordinates species-specific environmental education..

Daniel Marnewick

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme Manager
Daniel is responsible for managing the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme at the national level, which is implemented by Regional Conservation Managers. Daniel drives the overall strategic intent of the IBA Programme by advocating for the protection and management of IBAs nationally. Daniel is also intricately involved in the new Key Biodiversity Areas Programme at national, regional and global levels.

Romy Antrobus-Wuth

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme  – Administrative Assistant
Romy provides support to the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme by assisting with marketing and media content, fundraising and giving general conservation support.

Ernst Retief

Regional Conservation Manager: Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State
Ernst is responsible for the implementation of the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State Provinces. His main focus if to obtain formal protection for IBAs, especially in the eastern Free State. He is also responsible for data and GIS management within the IBA Prorgamme.

Dale Wright

Regional Conservation Manager: Western Cape
Dale’s work is focused on monitoring and conserving the IBAs in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces. A number of Biodiversity Stewardship projects, focused on unprotected estuary and wetland sties, have been launched. Dale’s activities also include fundraising, commenting on development applications, conducting academic research projects and participating in steering committees and forums to ensure the needs of birds are accounted for in the management of various sites.

Samantha Schroder

Verlorevlei Project Manager
Samantha is the Project Manager for the Verlorenvlei Protected Areas Project which is funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust. She is based in Piketberg in the Western Cape, near to the main project sites. The project’s focus is to establish various biodiversity stewardship options in the Moutonshoek Valley and around Verlorenvlei estuary IBA. She has completed her B.Tech in Nature Conservation and has worked and volunteered for various conservation organisations.

Dr Giselle Murison

Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project Manager
Giselle is the Project Manager for the Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project. Funded by the WWF- Elizabeth Harding Bequest, the project is focused on formal protected area expansion and on improving conservation action at priority estuarine IBAs within the Fynbos. She is based in Cape Town, within reach of the initial project sites identified through the preliminary scoping phase of the project, namely the Berg River, Klein River and Bot-Kleinmond River Estuaries.

Candice Stevens

Policy and Advocacy Programme Manager and Tax Specialist
Candice Stevens manages BirdLife South Africa’s Policy & Advocacy Programme which aims at mainstreaming biodiversity conservation priorities into both the public and private sectors. She is also a tax specialist that has introduced the first biodiversity tax incentive into the South African Protected Areas Network through her management of the Fiscal Benefits Project. Her work is comprised of advancing and testing innovative biodiversity finance solutions and policy integration relating to protected area expansion. Candice has a background in both law and commerce as well as experience in protected area expansion, biodiversity finance, environmental law and policy-making on financial incentives.

Jonathan Booth

Advocacy Officer
Jonathan is an Advocacy Officer on the Policy & Advocacy team. He will be focusing on coordinating BirdLife South Africa’s response to proposed developments in sensitive bird regions, and will assist in policy efforts to help secure important bird habitat.

Dr Ross Wanless

Seabird Conservation Programme Manager
Ross wears two hats – Seabird Conservation Programme Manager at BirdLife South Africa, and Africa Coordinator for the BirdLife International Marine Programme (BIMP). He devotes time to four major themes – overseeing the ATF teams in SA and Namibia, managing the African Penguin work with Christina Hagen and Taryn Morris, and working on the two core BIMP elements – marine Important Bird Areas and international fisheries policy development through the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. For the latter, he focuses on the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. He’s initiating a new programme with a focus on invasive species management, linked to the new BLI global programme. This is driven by the need to eradicate mice from SA’s Marion Island, and is linked to the RSPB’s plans to do the same at Gough Island. Ross’s world is sometimes binary – divided into ‘Seabirds’ and ‘Non-seabirds’. However, he’s been accused of grabbing occasional opportunities during work travel to go birding for non-seabirds!

Nini van der Merwe

International Liaison Officer and Office Administrator – Seabird Conservation Programme
Nini’s role with the Common Oceans tuna project is to implement the National Awareness and Observer Training workshops. She also manages the daily administration of the Seabird office, based in Cape Town. This includes, but is not limited to, providing assistance to Ross Wanless.

Christina Hagen

Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation
In 2015, Christina transitioned into the new role of the Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation, after having worked as the Coastal Seabirds Conservation Manager since 2012. She is now responsible for BirdLife South Africa’s work towards establishing a new African Penguin colony, including identifying potential sites, liaising with other stakeholders and investigating techniques to be used.


Andrea Angel

Albatross Task Force Leader
Andrea is a Chilean national, but a Capetonian at heart. She is responsible for managing the Albatross Task Force team in South Africa and lead BirdLife International policy and advocacy at the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation. Her role also includes engaging with BirdLife’s Common Oceans project and leading on the new BLI global programme to eradicate mice from SA’s Marion Island.

Reason Nyengera

Albatross Task Force Instructor

Reason is our ATF instructor and is responsible for our continued engagement with the Demersal Hake trawl and longline fishery through the collection of at-sea seabird data, and the development of Bird Mitigation Plans tailored to the various types of vessels within the fleet. He is also responsible for heading up ATF engagement with the inshore Hake trawl fleet where he will conduct an assessment of the level of seabird by-catch in that fishery, conduct at-sea experiments and promote the use of seabird mitigation measures.

Martin Taylor

Avitourism and Special Projects Programme Manager
Martin has worked for BirdLife South Africa since 2007 and is responsible for managing the Special Projects Programme, the primary focus of which is to build capacity within and assist the conservation efforts of BirdLife partners and bird orientated conservation organisations across southern Africa. He is also responsible for assisting the Birdlife International Seabird Programme activities in southern Africa and is the regional coordinator (South Africa, Namibia and Angola) for the East Atlantic Flyway Initiative.  He was the lead editor of The 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland and is currently responsible for the compilation of the 2017 State of South Africa’s Birds Report.